THE campaign to make Phillip Island’s roads safer has made a significant breakthrough, with VicRoads prioritising upgrades to the Phillip Island Road as a key planning priority for Gippsland.
With the support of the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Luke Donnellan, VicRoads has undertaken extensive traffic surveys over conventionally busy weekends.
The surveys – held on non-event weekends – quantified travel time, turning at key locations and queue times, using local knowledge to fine-tune findings.
The data collected identified two significant intersections which do not provide safe access to Phillip Island Road – Woolamai Beach Road and Back Beach Road – and a third which causes significant delays in traffic flow in busy periods – Boys Home Road.
Dual-lane roundabouts at these three hot spot intersections with Phillip Island Road have been recommended from the process.
Spokesperson for the CRG, Mary Whelan, said the group is extremely pleased with the developments.
“I think the key is that it’s gratifying that the State Government and VicRoads have taken on board community concern over a lot of years,” she said.
“Based on the standard figures that VicRoads would use, Phillip Island doesn’t have the same problem as other parts of the state, we have different problems.
“The good thing is they have acknowledged problems that we have and the lack of infrastructure to cope with these special circumstances that happen on Phillip Island with tourism and they’ve responded so it’s very positive.”
Bass Coast Shire Mayor Kimberley Brown was also pleased with the outcome.
“Council is pleased to hear that thanks to the partnership between the council, the Community Reference Group and VicRoads, important planning works will be undertaken for three intersection projects along Phillip Island Tourist Road,” she said.
“The strategic work done as part of the Phillip Island Integrated Transport Study played an important role in making this happen and we’d like to thank everyone involved.”
VicRoads informed the CRG recently that the next step is to move to more detailed planning for the intersections.
The CRG has written to Minister Donnellan expressing its thanks for his support and urging that he ensures VicRoads has the necessary funds in this financial year to progress to the development of the funding proposal for the three-intersection project as soon as possible.
Mrs Whelan said many people have written to the council and VicRoads over the years with their own concerns about intersections, particularly along the Phillip Island Road.
She pointed out that it was the joint action of a number of community groups and a 2012 petition to the State Government that galvanised the community into action.
“By having the petition all over Phillip Island and San Remo and giving people the opportunity to have their say, I think it did really raise the profile and give people an idea maybe something would be done,” she said.
“Now the process of talking to the wider community about the recommendations will start. It’s community empowerment and it shows that people getting together and putting a good case does help a lot when decisions are going to be made.”
The CRG will continue to keep the community informed with regular updates.